January 2, 2009
The creative folks at Marvel Comics pride themselves on the fact that their fictional universe closely mirrors the real one--with the addition of superheroes, natch.
For instance, Spider-Man operates in New York City, not some imaginary "Metropolis."
And when the President of the USA is depicted, it's not Lex Luthor, but the real office-holder of the moment.
But the recent issue number four of the miniseries Foolkiller
reveals a startling incongruity between the Marvelverse and ours.
Either that, or scripter Gregg Hurwitz and editor Axel Alonso have never ridden in an actual airplane before.
You see in this page the fat victim of the trained assassin enter a lavatory on a commercial flight. We'll give Hurwitz and Alonso props for mentioning that it's a tight fit. Nonetheless, enormous victim and killer somehow squeeze in together, whereupon the lav suddenly enlarges like a Tardis.
And then the killer drowns his victim in the potty.
Airline toilets simply do not feature basins of standing water. They operate with the push of a button and a sparse rinse of famous blue chemicals.
This killing, then, requires a larger suspension of disbelief than the existence of the entire Avengers, and will surely jolt any half-awake reader completely out of the attempt at realism.
That's just weird.
News of the Weird Daily
Friday, January 2, 2009 (part one)
"Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Disorder"
The Wall Street Journal
reviews odd medical syndromes, mostly familiar to News of the Weird
readers (Capgras Delusion, Foreign Accent Syndrome, Alien Hand Syndrome). The rarer ones, also mentioned in NOTW
, include Stendhal Syndrome (swooning upon exposure to great art in museums) and Jerusalem Syndrome (similar behavior, except that there are 7 agreed-upon symptoms). But the Jumping Frenchman thing, named for its first sighting among lumberjacks in Maine in 1878 is, well, weird. "Sufferers jump, twitch, flail their limbs and obey commands given suddenly, even if it means hurting themselves or a loved one. It's also been observed in factory workers in Siberia and Malaysia." Genes or environment? Uh, yes. Wall Street Journal
Can't possibly be true (but it's Georgia, so maybe that "right to an attorney" stuff is just optional)
Accused murderer Jamie Weis, 31, was arrested 8 months ago but as yet has no lawyer because of bureaucracy, negligence, and the stinginess of the state's funds for indigents. Since witnesses' memories fade, and evidence gets lost, he's already screwed, basically. Four outraged lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the state on Weis's behalf. New York Times
The land of opportunity!
What a country! A man can grow up on a farm, dirt-poor, get a job in a factory, and through hard work and perseverance rise up to become . . the wealthiest man in mightiest industrial engine in the world! What a country, indeed! Of course, I'm speaking of Mr. Liu Yongxing, the richest man in China. New York Times
It's hard work getting Asians to smile
China, Japan, and Singapore notoriously set up gov't or industry programs to teach "smiling" calisthenics so that their people wouldn't be seen as dour by Westerners. Thais, on the other hand, smile easily, but gov't turmoil, and now the economy, have them in lock-step dourness. One remedy: During this first week of 2009, motorcycle cops in Bangkok will wear white smiley-face masks with eyeholes as they go about their patrols. This is supposed to make people more comfortable with police. However, as you can see by the photo, it more conjures up Scream
, Jason, and the rogue cops in Magnum Force
. International Herald Tribune
Latest Lysistrata strategy
A women's movement was picking up steam around Naples, Italy, a few days ago: If their men won't refrain from setting off dangerous New Year's fireworks, no sex! BBC News
Good ideas gone way-bad
Police set up a random DUI checkpoint for New Year's at the only parking-lot exit from an all-night festival, to keep drunks off the road. But that meant that the line to get out was hours-long. The tally: 31 drunk, 956 sober. The Mercury
Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Charles Armstrong, Sarasota, Fla., accused of making a bogus 911 call to divert the cops chasing him for a traffic violation. Sarasota Herald-Tribune
A "nose bidet"
(also known as a neti pot) is a device used for nasal irrigation. I'm not really sure how it works, but I think it involves pouring water into one nostril so that it comes out the other. Wikipedia reports
that in some parts of India, this practice is as common as brushing one's teeth.
But even better is the yogic nasal cleansing practice of Sutra Neti:
One end of a cord, or rubber catheter, is passed from the nose into the back of the throat where it is grabbed by the fingers and pulled out of the mouth. Holding the nose end of the cord with one hand and the mouth end with the other, the cord is gently pulled to and fro.
I already floss my teeth once a day. I don't think I need to floss my nose.
(The picture is from yoga-age.com
January 1, 2009
No one ever suspected Garden Gal of growing dope.
From Popular Science
, Oct 1931
. A woman baking fish-flour cookies. Mmmmm.
Tests of fish flour, a new food high in mineral content, obtained as a by-product of the packaged fish industry, are now in progress at a public institution in Washington, D.C. Here eighty children have been selected for the first large-scale test of the food, under Government supervision, to determine its value. The experiment is expected to last a year. The subjects eat samples disguised as ginger cookies, containing as much as fifteen perfect of fish flour.
Fish Flour is basically a powder made from ground-up fish. From the 1930s to the 1960s the fish industry pushed hard to convince people that fish flour was a) palatable, and b) a possible solution to world hunger (because of its high protein content). But I guess it never caught on. There was a last high-visibility pr effort in 1968, when U.N. officials were given fish-flour cookies
as a snack, but after that fish flour fell off the map.
It's the New Year. Time to get a new calendar. But John Walkenbach
has a good idea. Don't buy a new one. Recycle an old one:
If you think about it, only 14 different calendars exist. January 1 can occur on any of seven days -- but some years are leap years and have an additional day...
you can use any of the following calendars for a 2009 calendar: 1903, 1914, 1925, 1931, 1942, 1953, 1959, 1970, 1981, 1987, or 1998.
By the way, if you start saving calendars in 2009, you will have a complete set of 14 different calendars in 2036.
Here's a 1903 calendar
you can print out and use.
December 31, 2008
Pedro, "The Narco-Beast of Sinaloa," is ready to kill Gabbigale for ratting on his secret greed.
Tell me what I'm missing here, please.
Cheap stuffed puppet: $10.00
Fake dentures from gag shop: $5.00
Total cost of teaching device: $16.00, max. And that's paying retail!
So why does Freddy Flossisaurus
cost $316.00 at this medical-supply site!?!
[edit: checking back in 2012, it appears that Freddy is sadly no longer for sale. So I removed the link. -Alex]
News of the Weird Daily
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"There was nothing sinister" about wrapping her in duct-tape and taking her across state lines
A 72-yr-old woman and her 76-yr-old boyfriend simply got tired of trying to convince her 86-yr-old sister to leave Pittsburgh and move in with them in Cleveland. (She was getting to need caretaking.) So they taped her up tight and drove her there. "Nothing sinister about it," said the kidnaptress's daughter. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Upgrades to our knowledge, courtesy of higher-education
After a study of 1,500 kids, the Japanese Family Planning Ass'n said it's pretty confident now that it knows . . that kids' skipping breakfast is highly correlated with losing their virginity early. And British historian Richard Ender said he's got evidence that goes against conventional wisdom about the sinking of a warship in 1685, i.e., a candle caused an explosion from all the below-deck methane (from caca which 17th-century greens convinced them to stockpile rather than dump?). Reuters /// Daily Telegraph
The art of coffee
To have the privilege of being employed by the Ladybug Organic Coffee Company of Portland, Ore., ya have to complete an extensive application, including answering 10 essay questions. The company over the years has hired 25 of 150 applicants. The competing Coffeehouse Northwest has no essay questions but does require a three-month training period to make sure, among other things, that the milk is steamed to perfection. New York Times
More Things to Worry About Today
Guilty pleas start to come in from the, er, older women's prostitution ring
(spread over 12 states, with13 defendants over age 50, 3 over 70). State Journal-Register
Recurring Theme: This lawsuit says, if you OD on booze and drugs, and die, and you happen to be sitting in a company's car at the time, it's the company's fault
that you're dead. Daily Herald
(Arlington Heights, Ill.) [LINK CORRECTED]
Recurring Theme: Arrested, DUI, on a Zamboni
. Maine Today
It's been No Longer Weird for years, but it still has a je ne sais quoi
about it: He wrote his robbery note on his pay stub
. Daily Herald
(Arlington Heights, Ill.)
If your family name is Hunt, you have a higher duty to be decorous, to refrain from naming your son Michael
("Hello, yes, I'd like to speak to— . . .). Indianapolis Star
Comments on Things to Worry About?
Your Daily Loser
The would-be robber got away, but there's good video on this one. He confronted a carwash employee, pulled out a gun, dropped it on the floor, picked it up (or, rather, picked up what were then both pieces of the gun), still insisted he wanted money, and made a move for a cash drawer. That's when the employee grabbed a 2000 psi pressure hose and blasted away. KGW-TV
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Jose Raul Moreno-Lopez, Tampa, charged with tearing off some of his clothes in an apartment house parking lot and humping a tree. Tampa Tribune
Your Daily Jury Duty I
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
F-Stater Carla Maldonado, 40, stands accused of having sex with a dog, but c'mon, are they saying she couldn't entice any man she took a liking to? WOKV-TV
Your Daily Jury Duty II
Stanley Carter, 21, was accused of stowing away for a few days in a family's attic near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and descending from time to time to steal things before returning to his lair. Times Leader
Today's Newsrangers: Charles Thompson, Keith Yearman, Scott Schrier, Brent Thompson, Rick Zehr, Tom Barker, Bruce Bixby, Paul Music, Steve Dunn
All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.